Most of us have tasted the succulent juicy sweetness of pineapple. Whether in juice form, in desserts, with cottage cheese, on top of pizza, in sweet and sour dishes or served in rings; the yellow part of this fruit is loved by many. In the processing, though, the leaf fibers are often thought of as a waste product and left to rot on the ground after harvest.
In 2015 we may see a change in this as development is currently underway at London’s Royal College of Art to turn this waste into a viable leather alternative. Inspired by the traditional embroidered garments from the Philippines that are made with pineapple leaf fibers, Piñatex is made from cut up pineapple fibers that are layered and processed into a textile. From there, the material can be dyed, printed, embossed and more to replicate a variety of textures including leather. Because it is more sustainable and lower priced than traditional leathers, it has already caught the attention of designers such as Puma, Camper and Ally Campino. Though not commercially available yet, all have used Piñatex in sample pieces including shoes, bags, and accessories. This is certainly a material to keep your eyes on this year.